Never Just a Cake Mix

Will the sun shine on my cake creation?

Today I decided to use up some of last Summer’s homemade peach jam. But what to do with it? I have, on occasion, used baking mixes. Mostly they are a base for something tasty. That was the case today. I don’t exactly have my own kitchen right now, so I have to borrow one to bake. The logistics are challenging to say the least!

Cake mix mixed up.

So, I started out by using a white cake mix for a 9″ x 13″ pan. I made the cake mix according to the directions, just substituting milk for the water for which was called. I mixed up the cake batter and spread it in my pre-greased pan. On top of the cake batter, I spooned about three cups of my homemade peach jam, though I would think that your favorite jam would work well too. Just think of all the flavors you could try; combinations galore!

Add that jam!!!!

The baking directions were a little tricky, since the cake was not originally designed for jam. The directions read to bake the cake for 16 – 19 minutes. However, I ended up baking it with the jam on it for about 45 minutes. Totally worth the wait!

One word – yummmmm!

Sharing Saturday: Lemongrass Essential Oil

Go away, mosquitoes!

I don’t know about you, but I love the smell of lemons! Lemongrass is similar, but stronger; like lemon drops. I also love this smell. In fact, one of my favorite gluten-free noodle soups is lemongrass and chili, especially if it’s mixed with spring onion. Yummy!

But I digress. Lemongrass essential oil is one of my favorites. I have found, quite by accident, that this lovely scent helps me to keep mosquito-bite free. Yay! This is a huge bonus for the Summer in the Midwest, where mosquitoes are practically the Midwestern bird!

Bye-bye you nasty buggers!
Photo by Egor Kamelev on

What I do is put a small amount of lemongrass essential oil on my arms, legs, neck, face, or any other body part that is not covered. This not only smells awesome, but works really well for me to avoid those pesky Summer mosquito bites. I have noticed, too, that it seems to repel ticks. Yay!

Lemongrass is also recommended to ease pain in bones, joints, and muscles. I have noticed a marked improvement in my broken foot from when I started using lemongrass on it. Two of our pups like it too. Ducky, who is getting on in years, was crying every time he came out of his sleeping crate in the mornings. He would cry all the way to the back door, where he would be let out to do his business. Even sometimes during the day, he would whimper and cry in pain. This broke my heart, because Ducky is such a sweet boy. So, after I saw how the Young Living lemongrass essential oil worked out my foot, I decided to try it out on our Duck. He is like a new dog. There is no more crying and whining! He is no longer hurting. Yay!

Delilah, was hugged so much as a pup and tried to jump up on things that were too high for her little legs, that she has a few back issues. I administered a small bit of YL lemongrass essential oil onto my finger and then on her back, using the feathering technique I had learned. It worked. Now she loves her oils and she isn’t moaning because she hurts. Yay!

This YL lemongrass essential oil is such a multitasker, plus, I just love the smell, that it has quickly become a favorite in our house. If fact, I have it in my car diffuser right now. No more mosquitoes want to come along for the ride! Now that’s what I call a win!

If you are interested in learning about the Young Living company and there products, here is a link to the Young Living Learning Center:

If you are interested in ordering Young Living Lemongrass essential oil or any other Young Living product, here is my link:

Every time you order something through my link at Young Living, you are helping to support our family and a company who gives back and has amazing products. I can honestly say that I have really enjoyed every product from Young Living that I have tried. My subscription order will be coming soon and I will let you know what I got. There just might be some all-natural, animal-cruelty-free, vegan-friendly products in there, but then, when are there not? I think everything that I’ve had from YL fits into that category! Yay, Young Living!

IMPORTANT NOTE: I am not a medical professional and this blog is not offering medical advice (because I am not a medical professional in any stretch of the imagination!!!) All of the products that I talk about and how they have worked are from my personal experience.

Sharing Saturdays: White Angelica

So very amazing at reducing my trauma!

Hello, everyone! This Saturday I have decided to share a new oil that I just tried. First, why I tried it.

On Tuesday, just when I thought it was safe to visit my local mart store, I came face to face with the ex’s minion. I looked over and there was the ex. Trauma! Trauma! Trauma! Now, by rights I could have called the police or made the store throw him out (I do have a restraining order, after all, and a copy with me at all times!)

I couldn’t even think of that. I looked away and pretended it didn’t bother me – that he wasn’t worth my time, which he’s not. However, I was shaken. I left as soon as I had paid for my groceries.

I was still shaking when I went to my Young Living Zoom meeting. My friends suggested that I get out my White Angelica essential oil and put it in my hair and down my body, over my clothes. Okaaaay. Seemed odd to me, but then I know exactly how powerful the Young Living oils are.

So, I did as suggested. I felt better, but didn’t realize how much until I had washed my hair and gotten ready for bed. As I was explaining to Child #1 what had transpired, I started having a panic attack. I realized what was happening and went to put on more White Angelica. It completely calmed me. It was like the trauma of seeing him happened a long time ago and it could no longer hurt me. Amazing. This is one oil with which I never want to be without!

Interested? Here’s my link:

I hope my story inspires you to try Young Living essential oils. They are amazing! God bless and please send along prayers for housing. We are still struggling on that front.

Great Dad Quotes

A sketch my dad did for an art class many years ago. It did pass!

“This too shall pass” is something my dad often said to me, especially after another child had bullied me, or even after a tough day. I didn’t realize that it came from the Bible until recently. 2 Corinthians 4: 17-18.

Words can hurt. Spread kindness.
Photo by RODNAE Productions on

As a child, it was scarce comfort, but as I have aged (and grown up a bit) I find it poetic in its wisdom. Nothing is forever, only God. Why do we insist on holding so tightly to the things of this world? They are only things.

Where’s your focus?

I like this thought: The ones who make the biggest difference here on earth are the ones whose eyes are fixed not on this life. Yes. Eyes on the prize, people. Eyes on the prize: God and Heaven.

Eyes up!
Photo by Pixabay on

Do you struggle in this imperfect world? What advice would you give? Let’s chat!

Sharing Saturday: Digize Vitality Essential Oil

This is what I used on Lulu to great effect!

When I first got my essential oil kit from Young Living, I was eagerly smelling all of the essential oils that came with it. It was exciting – like my birthday! There was one smell, however, that I did not find appetizing. Well, to be honest, a lot of trauma, etc. can affect how you perceive the scents from your oils. Also, these oils are extremely concentrated, so if you hold the bottle right up to your nose, you will be struck by the scent. This is not the case when they are diffused, as they are meant to be, or even applied to your body. Think of opening a strong smelling candle after it has sat with its lid on for many days. Whoa! That’s strong. The artificial scent of the candle is actually harmful for you, whereas the essential oils are not. They may smell strongly, but they aren’t overpowering when used as directed.

“Did someone say car ride?” Delilah.

So. Digize vitality. This one smelled like chocolate and mulch to me. Not unpleasant, but not my favorite. What on earth is this one for? I questioned. Tummy upset. O.k. We have used it on Child #4’s tummy for gas pain and bloating and it did work, no chemicals required. Our latest discovery, though, was the best and I am so excited to share it with you guys!

As you may or may not know, we have three little dogs. They are all ESA’s (Emotional Support Animals) or service dogs. Our tiniest dog, Lulu, has been suffering from carsickness since we got her, thus making travel difficult and unpleasant. Delilah, her sister, has no such problem and adores the call of “Car ride!” Child #2 and I were going to pick up Child #4 (Lulu’s mama) from school on Thursday and really wanted to bring Lulu with, since she adores her Emotional Support Human!

I decided to give digize a try. I put my finger over the top of the open bottle, turned it over, and quickly turned it back, thus dispensing less than a drop, since Lulu is only about 5 pounds. This I rubbed on her back. We made the 30-minute trek to Child #4’s school with no problem and even were able to stop at a hardware store and then on to home with no problem. No vomiting. Yay!!! It’s digize vitality for the win!

I can go on car rides now!

No more car sickness for Lulu! We even gave it another try today when we went to a meeting for Child #4 in the next town over. Great success! Now, we just have to try it out on Ducky. He’s about 10 pounds and has major anxiety near the end of car trips. I think, since we adopted him from a shelter, he was taken out somewhere and dumped (he was found wondering the streets) and that he is terrified that it’s going to happen again. Nope. He has found his forever home with us and we love him dearly! He’s such a goof; our court jester. Lulu, of course, is the queen. While Delilah is her bodyguard!

We want Young Living essential oils too!!!!

Careful: Essential oils from Young Living are very pure, thus the Seed to Seal Promise. They do require caution to use, as one would any treatment. I know that some of you are going to question whether they are safe for animals, as you’ve probably heard essential oils are not. However, all essential oils are not created equal. Many are not pure essential oils, like lavender, and can be harmful to your pets. This is not the case with Young Living’s essential oils. They are extremely pure, and therefore very concentrated. So, use caution and common sense, but also don’t refrain from using them in the manner in which they were meant.

Here’s the link to find out more about digize vitality essential oil:

If you want to support me (and the kiddos) on my Young Living journey, please consider ordering here:

Who’s Watching the Watchers?

Photo by cottonbro on

Since May is Mental Health Month and I have been ruminating about this for a while, I just thought I would share something that is near and dear to me. I think we have a problem in this country (the US) with mental health care. Not just for adults, but especially for children. I have seen first-hand the abuse perpetrated by some of the “caregivers” of my child, Child #3, who has been to mental hospitals six times.

I’m done sitting by and being silent. Screw that! What is that quote: “All that is needed for evil to flourish is for good men to do nothing?” Yeah. I’m tired of doing nothing. My child was abused by these so-called “caregivers!” Incensed? I was too. Here is the story.

The first episode of Child #3 being admitted to a mental hospital happened when he was just 12. He was a young 12, actually only mentally 6, which I did not know at the time. I had taken him to a nearby hospital West of us for cuts that Child #1 had discovered on him. I was treated at the hospital like I was a horrible mother for not knowing what to do with this child. Why hadn’t I done something? Um…hello? Because I don’t know what to freaking do!!! What do you do when your child is so unhappy that they cut lines in their bodies and horrify you with the blood? This was not just for attention. This was a problem.

Photo by Pranavsinh suratia on

Thus started our mental health journey. That same night, Child #3 was admitted to a mental hospital in Racine, Wisconsin, about an hour and a half from our home. It was 2:30 in the morning when the ambulance brought him in and I was told to get into the ambulance in the parking lot and ride over with them since the area wasn’t safe, a luxury I was not afforded on the trip out. Wonderful! This is where you want to house my child? So, I got him signed in, amid struggles and tears. He had never been away from home and was absolutely terrified. I was reassured by the nurses that everything would be fine. They implied that I was a helicopter mom. No. But this is my very scared child whom you do not know and he is desperate for me.

I went to see him every day. The first day, he stumbled three times on the way to the door where I would come in. What? Turns out he had an allergic reaction to the medication Seroquel, one where he lost muscle control and his tongue swelled up. I absolutely forbade the nurses to give it to him again. They administered it the next night. I was livid when I found out. He had even questioned them, but was told “We’re not going to do this!” in a threatening tone. There was next to nothing I could do. They were just trying to keep him quiet so their jobs would be easier.

In fact, one nurse, Anna (they’re not supposed to know the nurses names, but he overheard someone call her that) told him to think about how her parents had died when she was a child, so that she thought he would stop sobbing and shut up! Unreal! This is the same nurse who was so pleasant and loving to my face! How can you abuse my child, who is in your care, like that? She just added to his trauma!

Act out? We’ll calm you down!
Photo by on

He was able to leave after just three days, thank God, and I took him home. The problem was, his psychiatrist was trying to figure out medications for him. So, with each new change, many behavioral problems surfaced. He was violent with us. Many, many times the police were called (by us) for protection and help. Unfortunately, this just labeled him a “problem child.” It was even suggested to me, by the police, that I should put him in a home! Over my dead body! He is only mentally six, though he is very tall and imposing.

After that came another trip to another mental hospital, this one in Green Bay. They were not great to him there either, and I could not visit him often because of the distance. He lost weight there and was feeling better about his body, but then they wouldn’t release him until he gained the weight back. He had been overweight before, but they held it over him until he gained it back. Only then was he released. He has never lost the weight again.

There is nothing like hearing the screams of your child down the corridors of your local hospital and know that it is taking six police officers to hold him down because he is in such agony. My heart breaks every time I think about it. They wouldn’t let me back there. He desperately didn’t want to be shipped to the mental hospital. So much trauma. He was terrified. He just wanted his mom. He just wanted for this nightmare to be over.
Photo by Daniel Reche on

The third through sixth times Child #3 was in a mental hospital was in Milwaukee. Unfortunately, Rogers would never take him. I’m not sure why. I have heard many, many excuses, but he’s never been allowed to be treated there. So, he got shipped to another one. I think it’s the best one he’s been to, but it still was abusive and awful. How is this helping him? How does this help any child who suffers from mental illness?

Child #3 has suffered enough trauma at the hands of his father. Things most people only hear about on graphic TV dramas. The fact that he suffered more in places that were supposed to help him, just makes me boiling mad! And this doesn’t even touch the group home where he was sexually assaulted by his roommate and made to eat gluten or starve by the head of that house, who verbally abused all of the “inmates.” Yes. I use the word inmates. That’s what they are.

All I can say is “God saw.” You evil, evil people who perpetrate these crimes against our children and cower in your darkness – God sees all you do! Ever wonder why no cameras or recording devices are allowed in mental hospitals? Pretty convenient, right?

God sees everywhere, not just in church! Walk upright in the truth and be kind.
Photo by Julia Volk on

Now, I am not saying that all mental hospitals are bad. I’m sure there must be some that are what they are supposed to be. In our experience, though, we have yet to see one. Please, take a terrified, six-year-old child, drug them, abuse them, and take away all their family. That’s the right way to treat the mentally ill! I refuse to send Child #3 back to one. We will help him with coping skills and his therapists and other workers that we have amassed over the last four years. Never will I send him back for more abuse! It just makes his life that much more unbearable.

So, what are we doing now? I have been experimenting with various essential oils from Young Living and some are really helping him. It isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination. There are ups and downs. However, it is so much better. He has his schedule and his people and his oils. It works. I am hoping to try the trauma releasing sleep kit soon. It’s pricey, but I’ve heard worth every penny. I would do anything (Well, almost. Nothing illegal or immoral, please!) to help my kiddos. If Child #3 could release all, or even some of the trauma that he’s been through, he might actually have a chance at a happy life. That is my prayer.

This is the kit I’m thinking about ordering from Young Living.

If you are interested in ordering anything from Young Living, please use my link! Thanks, everyone!


Photo by David Garrison on

Today was not a great day. I had high hopes for it, but alas, here we are. I got super frustrated when I got more unhelpful advice regarding our housing situation. Then, I was going to take Child #3 to get blood work done at the hospital when I looked over at his legs and realized that he had cut them up terribly. Wonderful! So, if I took him to the hospital for the blood work, they would ship him off to the mental hospital.

So, off to the local Goodwill to donate more items from our over-crowded house instead. This particular store is just two towns East of home.

When we arrived there was no one out there to help me. So I started unloading my own stuff. After a couple bags, I got a cart. I had filled it to the top and traded it for another empty cart by the time an employee came out to yell at me that they wouldn’t accept the shelf that I had brought.

Photo by cottonbro on

I shot back at him that if someone had been out there to help me, he could have told me that before I took it out of the car! He wasn’t really interested in helping me, and I wasn’t thrilled with him. He tried to excuse himself by telling me that he was so far away, but I cut him off again and told him that I didn’t care. He was so nasty, and to someone who was donating things for the store to sell and make money! All for free! Do you really want to offend someone who is helping you? Then he went on to help another lady, whom he actually asked if he could help! 😡!!!

Why oh why does the world seem to be full of incompetent jerks today?

I’m hoping for a better tomorrow. It is, after all, my birthday.

A birthday cake. Not mine, but you get the idea.

Sharing Saturday: Peace & Calming Essential Oil

This feels like a vacation!

Doesn’t everyone need a little more peace and calming in their day? I know I do! What with our house having showings (to hopefully sell quickly – prayers!) and the school year ending (so tests!) and everything else that I have on my plate right now I know I need to put a little peace and calming essential oil in my hands and breathe it in! It is also great in your diffuser!

There is one caveat in our house, though! Child #2 made me promise not to put it in the diffuser at bedtime. Why? Well, apparently, the last time I did, she had some pretty awful nightmares! Oh, yeah! Did I forget to mention that it is a trauma-reducing oil? Uh, yeah. So, while this is an awesome oil to put in Child #3’s diffuser keychain before his EMDR therapy session, it didn’t work well in the sweet dreams department for Child #2!

Speaking of Child #3, I have seen Peace and Calming work it’s trauma-releasing power on him. I specifically put this essential oil in his diffuser keychain before an EMDR session. He had a breakdown in the session and actually cried in front of his therapist! Amazing! I just want him to be able to process the trauma he has suffered and have it released to allow healing.

SPECIAL NOTE: I am not a doctor, nor medical professional of any type. This is all from what I have observed in my own home with my own family. So, don’t take my word for it – try it for yourself!

My lovely diffuser in which I used Peace and Calming today!

I will say, helping Child #3 is the reason I was interested in Young Living from the start. I am learning more and more about all of the wonderful things that are offered and seeing many positive results from using them in my home! My wish for all of you is for you to experience this most awesome phenomenon too! How can I serve you today?

To learn more about essential oils, please click the link below:

To order Peace and Calming Essential Oil, or any Young Living product in which you are interested my link is below:

Thanks everyone, and have a blessed day!